LA Teens Travel 2,000 Miles to Help Flint’s Undocumented Residents Get Access to Clean Water

Lead Photo: AP

While the Flint water crisis has slipped from the public consciousness, two California teens are hoping to turn the country’s attention back to the city. On April 25, 2014, the local government shut off Detroit’s water supply and replaced it with water from the Flint River in a cost-saving move. Despite the high levels of lead, it took Flint more than a year to declare a state of emergency. As a result, the untreated water has been linked to a spike in Legionnaires’ disease, and amidst these serious health issues, the city hasn’t made it easy for undocumented immigrants to receive the help they need. First, in exchange for water, they required identification – something that’s impossible since Michigan doesn’t provide licenses to undocumented immigrants. And even though Flint tried to right its wrong, some immigrants didn’t want to risk coming forward and revealing their status.

Keeping this community in mind, 18-year-old Bryan Martinez and 19-year-old Carizma Brown traveled more than 2,000 miles – the farthest they’ve ever traveled – to donate drinking water, baby wipes, and other supplies, according to CBS SF Bay Area. For Brown, helping came down to one simple thing: “Imagine you can’t even brush your teeth, take a shower. We take these things for granted. This means we can do a little something about it.” The two Los Angeles teens teamed up with Cesar Cruz, a Doctoral Researcher with Homeboy Industries, for this ambitious project. They set up a Generosity crowdfunding page to raise $5,000. In 13 days, they reached 70 percent of their goal, and they are still accepting donations. And they’ve been involved every step of the way. The duo called Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and let them know they wanted to contribute.

On Generosity, they keep people up-to-date on their journey. Check out the videos above and below to hear them explain in their own words why they felt compelled to take action.